25,000 displaced by unrest in Sudan's Darfur: UN

The United Nations said Friday that 25,000 people have been displaced in Sudan's Darfur region after unrest that began 10 days ago with the killing of a government official.

"Reports received by the UN indicate that the entire population of the Kassab IDP camp -- 25,000 people -- fled because of the fighting," the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said in its latest weekly bulletin.

The Kassab camp -- home to people who had already been displaced by Darfur's nine-year-long conflict -- is on the edge of Kutum town, northwest of the North Darfur state capital El Fasher.

The unrest, part of a surge in violence in Sudan's vast western region, began on August 1 when a district chief, Abdelrahman Mohammed Eissa, was shot dead in Kutum during a carjacking attempt.

Reports received by the UN said that members of Eissa's Jalul tribe then killed two displaced people and a police officer, and destroyed a local market.

"On 3 August, two members of the government delegation that arrived in Kutum for a meeting with the governor were shot at and injured," OCHA said.

"The UN also received reports of looting of houses of displaced people, markets and businesses in the Kassab IDP camp and Kutum town."

State-linked media reported last Sunday that two soldiers were killed when the army moved in to stop the looting by "outlaws".

The deployment was unusual as civic law enforcement is normally a police responsibility.

OCHA said the Sudanese Armed Forces initially expelled the tribesmen from Kutum on Saturday but they returned on Sunday, "and engaged the SAF in force."

In an interview with AFP last Tuesday, Darfur's top official, Eltigani Seisi, said a total of eight people had been killed, including the two soldiers, two police and four camp residents.

"There is an ethnic and tribal polarisation in Darfur," Seisi said. "It has started with the war."

OCHA said it was not possible to determine the number of killed and injured.

"During the violence, the premises of five humanitarian organisations were looted. Humanitarian staff have been evacuated to El Fasher town," OCHA said.

The World Food Programme previously announced that its Kutum compound was looted for about 12 hours from around midday on August 2 but staff were unhurt.

In other recent unrest in Darfur, security forces shot dead eight protesters in the South Darfur city of Nyala last week.

On Thursday, peacekeepers from the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said they had received reports from fleeing villagers of air strikes between August 3 and 6, west of Shangil Tobay, which is south of El Fasher.

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